Popularized in Iromakuanhe fiction and media, Hlaraian clothblades are exotic melee weapons created from an exotic organic material that has the texture and weight of smooth, light leather. It is soft and pliable to the touch, and yet, once held in the user's hands and activated, can quickly shift and harden into a blade that is effectively as strong as high grade carbon steel and as sharp as any well-honed blade. They are well-liked by fighters of all walks of life, agents working for private interests, VIA operatives and as ceremonial weapons for many branches of the military.
It should be noted that Clothblades are not a proprietary technology, and have many producers and styles of weapon. Corporate designs produced by megacorporations such as Solan are common fare for government agent-provocateurs, while collectors and private citizens may prefer artisan weapons produced in specialized workshops. They are produced in light (daggers and shortswords), medium (one-handed long blades) and heavy (two-handed sword) variants, with certain varieties behind more popular in certain regions or among certain agencies. The Vanguard Intelligence Agency is known to prefer the short style for their supreme concealability.
The material is harvested from a genetically engineered variety of barnacle-like cephalopod known as the Hlaraian Arma. This species is renowned for its incredible durability compared to even space-age composites, ability to metabolize metals and integrate them in its construction and usage of electrical fields to harden its outer shell. Among other things, the various properties of this species were later used in the development of Aerudirn, the OMDE compound and the CIVWS employed by many VANDR-type craft. The first of these devices however, were the unique belt-blades made by Hlraraian weaponsmiths and geneticists, significant in being the first truly organic weaponry developed by the Iromakuanhe race as a whole.
Clothblades are unique in that they are partially living weapon systems with the ability to emphatically read the intent and neural impulses of their user. This is incredibly easy for 'naturally' empathic or telepathic species such as the Iromakuanhe, though other races may need symbiotic or cybernetic implants to increase their brainwave emissions to levels that can be picked up by the blade.
They are often jokingly referred to as better judges of character than most people because of the means by which they are operated. The system is not entirely controlled by thought, instead driven by the will and intentions of the wielder, following the flow of their voluntary muscles and their more unrestrained instinctive and subconscious desires. The blade would only harden if the swordsman struck with the intent to use it as a blade, and would not do so if they wished to strike but did not wish to cut their target. A person unfettered by strong emotional turmoil (or who is not distracted by other matters) will generally have an easier attempt of controlling such a weapon outside of swordfights.
Being comprised of the self-regenerating colonies of a self-mobile organic material, Clothblades possess a degree of flexibility and mobility comparable to the most advanced 'smart alloys'. In an instant, the blade can become as soft as cloth or leather, or harder than carbon weave steel. By adjusting the hardness and shape in various ways, the wielder can wield them as grappling tools, improvised manipulators or even restraints.
Clothblades are tools largely composed of biological components derived from certain species of sealife known to the Iromakuanhe, resulting in blades with a number of advantages and disadvantages. Notably, the blades have the ability to regenerate from damage, by consuming biomass packets inserted into the small slots near the insert for the battery pack.